Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Business is Hard Work

When my daughter was in college she had to buy and read a lot of books. It was more financially practical to purchase the books used. The problem with used books is upon return, they has very little real value, or worse, the teacher was no longer using that book next quarter and hence it was worthless. This means there are quite a few text books left around my house. Since I’m such an avid reader I’ve actually read a few of these leftover books. One book that I am currently reading is The Machine in the Garden by Leo Marx. There is an interesting quote in the book, “If America seemed to promise everything that men always had wanted, it also threatened to obliterate much of what they already had achieved.” This is the basic concept behind the American dream.

Owning your own business is the American dream, it allows you the possibility of achieving what you have always wanted. The unfortunate thing is the other half of the sentence is usually forgotten. It’s not as glamorous or even cheery. It has a doom and gloom connotation to it. Yes you can start a business but if you’re not careful you can lose it all. This is not necessarily true. Business can be tough and there are a lot of ins and outs. The learning curve can be quite steep and those that fail to learn can be facing problems that adversely affect their business. Those statistics that everyone quotes about a business failing in the first year are not necessarily true. There are businesses that have been around forever and they sometimes fail, there are no hard and fast rules about success or failure in business except one.

In order to succeed you need to work hard. It is a matter of constantly plugging away and working at the business. You don’t have to have grand ideas or spend tons of cash on fancy advertising, although it does help to advertise. Business mostly takes time. You have to put in the time, whether it’s updating your website, holding a trunk show or keeping your inventory in good repair, it all takes time. Business requires an attention to detail and hard work. You will work longer hours than a 9 to 5 job and have a lot less to show for it. You will have to deal with inventory, customer service and major decision all on your own. Sometimes you’ll feel overwhelmed and other times it will be the most satisfying job you’ve ever had, but that’s business.

There is no such thing as an absentee business and if anyone tries to convince you that there is, they are a charlatan. If you have a good idea you should try and make that idea come to life. If you have special skills why not capitalize upon them? Just remember that no business became successful overnight and if they did it was probably a fad, remember “Pet Rocks?” So keep working hard at your business, take advice with a grain of salt and remember that there is no substitution for practice. You can never get good at something if you’re not willing to put in the hours and do the hard work.

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